Friday, 8 January 2016

A New Hope, The Return of the Injury, Rog Strikes Back

Well what a year 2015 has been, after the last few injury riddled years you’d think I was due to have a decent year, even if it wasn’t a very impressive year at least I’d be able to run as I liked. Sadly it was not to be as I suffered major blow injuries in July and August. Following my August lay-off I was gradually working my way back to fitness, indeed, whilst hardly setting the athletic world alight I just about managed to scrape my way into another National medal winning Salford team. Following that silver at the Masters Cross Country Relays I seemed to be running pain free and training was getting better. In fact training was going so well I set myself some winter targets; to win the South East Lancs cross country league M50 championship and to be 1st M50 at the Cheshire Cross Country Championships. It started well, I finished an overall 10th in the first of four SEL races, taking, for the first time in this league, my first age group victory. I was looking forward to my next SEL race, in a much more favourable location for me, Heaton Park……but, just seven days before the race, my knee started to ache in a bog standard 9 mile training run. Later that day it stiffened up, such that I could hardly walk. I took the week off all exercise, hoping that I’d still be capable of a good run on the Saturday, but I was still unable to run on race day. My title chance had gone, but more concerning, was this to be the career ending injury, my knees were in a lot of pain and I could hardly bend my right one.  
Happier Times National Masters Road Relay Silver, celebrating with my pal Rob Tudor, who's had his own fair share of injuries this year

Race out of the way and the rest of the winter season written off there was no rush to get my fitness back but I didn’t want to do nothing so I devised a training plan that would enable me to keep strong and at least keep the cardiovascular situation on it’s toes. I spent the next couple of weeks doing my own PT sessions, avoiding anything that could affect the problem (basically it was clear that it was the hamstring which was the culprit). It was a minimal response, I didn’t do much as I thought I’d take the opportunity to give my whole body a bit of a rest, but I couldn’t do nothing.

21st December was day one of, what I hoped would be, my return to running. My body was feeling good, though I still had an underlying ache in my knee. However, using the easiest of easy running sessions I figured I’d soon know if it was going to be successful or back to the drawing board. (1 minute walk / 1 minute run) x 10, of little acorns… Being an optimist, the next day I was back out (1 minute walk / 2 minutes run) x 9. I was sure I was going down the right track but my knee was feeling a little tired so on day three I just cycled. Xmas eve was a scheduled rest day, we were heading to Spain for what, originally, was intended to be a focused warm weather training period in preparation for the Cheshire Cross Country Champs, but now was going to be a chance to rehabilitate in the sun and warmth of the Costa Calida.

Xmas day, whilst Carole was out enjoying one of her best and longest runs of the year, I was back on the rehabilitation wagon, (1 minute walk / 3 minutes run) x 8, and I threw in a few press ups by the pool for good measure. Boxing day was (1 minute walk / 4 minutes run) x 7 and the following day the pattern continued with 5 minutes running x 6.

Now I get bored with the obvious so the next day I spiced things up with (1 minute walk / 7 minutes run) x 5 and then decided it was time for a rest day. Rest day over and keen to get on with it, enjoying my plods in the sunshine, it was a big advance to 10 minutes of running x 4, with the following day being 15 minutes of running x 3. It was all going so well so the next day was 20 minutes of running x 3 and, on the day we were going to head home to England, 1 minute walking followed by 39 minutes of running. Yes, if I could run for 39 minutes, non stop, now I could dispense with the walking.

Back home I decided I would just run for 45 minutes each day for the first week and then review the situation.

It’s now 8 January, I’m taking a rest day. After yesterday’s run I could feel the muscles around my knees start to tighten. I had a good boot camp last night but I’m ready for a rest. Tomorrow I’ll see how I feel, not sure I’m ready to go beyond 45 minutes but I’m hoping I’ll be able to run an hour, non stop, next week. No plans yet for any speed work, I’m just keeping fit and enjoying being able to run. I’ll be keeping a close eye on things, better to run once a week than not to run at all. Racing is right at the back of my mind at the moment, I’m not even sure if I have the desire any more, but I’m sure that’ll come back once I can run fast.   

Here’s hoping you, and I, have a happy and successful 2016.

Written by Roger Alsop

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